Nicole Morven, is from Gitwinksihlkw, B.C., where she is a monitoring coordinator for Nisga’a fisheries. In March, she graduated from the Stewardship Technicians Training Program. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Indigenous stewards of the land, river and sea

Stewardship Technicians Training Program based in Prince Rupert completes second cohort

Raw, remote and resource rich, coastal and inland First Nation communities in the north are welcoming home recent graduates from the Stewardship Technicians Training Program.

For the past two years, students have travelled to their Prince Rupert classroom to gain industry-recognized certificates and university credits that can be applied toward a degree or a diploma. The 14 courses in the program deal with environmental monitoring, archeology, resource management and leadership skills.

“I’m taking the course just to prove to my co-workers, my peers, especially our youth back home that you too can be that leader in your nation, to take part in something, you know, to be that steward of the land, and to be proud of who you are and what you do,” said Nicole Morven, who is from Gitwinksihlkw in the Nass River valley.

Morven has been a monitoring coordinator for Nisga’a fisheries for 10 years, as well as wildlife monitoring and data collecting duties on land.

READ MORE: Making connections on and off the Canada C3

“All the students work in environmental stewardship, in particular as fisheries techs or land technicians, and coastal guardian watchmen. They’re either working in that capacity or getting into that,” said Elodie Button, training coordinator, who saw 16 students graduate from the first cohort and 11 students from the second cohort that completed in March.

The program is jointly run by Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative and Vancouver Island University, and funded by the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Students were based in Prince Rupert, but did on-the-ground training and education in Haida Gwaii, Hakai Institute on Calvert Island, and they went to Metlakatla for their archaeological course to tour the old village sites.

“In September, we were in Hakai. We were there for two weeks doing some communications prep, preparing to be out in the field professionally. Working out in your own territory but learning how to be respectful while you’re doing it,” Morven said.

Students learn more than how to manage a protected area, identify fish and how to service a small motorboat, they were also mentored on improving their communication skills, how to work with a team, handle conflict resolution and speak in public.

“I’m definitely more confident then I was before. I’m speaking up about my ideas and things that are going on in my head and so I would like to use some of the skills and take them back to my community and maybe start different survey work,” said Deborah Parker, from Kitsumkalum.

The program has lit a fire for her, and she imagines using her new-found skills to do traditional-use studies on Indigenous plants, and how to maintain them.

“I would like to go and find the stories about how maybe our elders learned to maintain our berry picking areas or where some of the ladies may go and harvest the bark off the cedar tree,” she said.

The third cohort ends with 15 students graduating from a one-year adapted version of the course.

After three years of coordinating the program, Button has seen the students grow in their career and personal development, which has encouraged her to search for grant money to allow the stewardship training to continue.

READ MORE: Whale researchers find nearly three feet of plastics on remote beaches

 

shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com 

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Just Posted

Big wrestling from a small town

Aaron Roubicek wants to put Prince Rupert on the map at the BC Summer Games

WEB POLL: Are you guilty of foodwaste at home?

B.C. food retailers are trying to change people’s behaviour to reduce food waste

Bear Creek continues $14.5M civil suit with Brucejack Mine owner

The Terrace-based company is looking for damages for unpaid work as it continues Highway 16 work

Ford F350 bursts into flames on Highway 16

Driver on way to Terrace when incident occured

Suspect responsible for police standoff faces five criminal charges

The 47-year-old male had his first court appearance in Prince Rupert and remains in custody

This Week Podcast — Episode 94

Police standoff, Ridley Terminals plans to expand, a community garden and more in Prince Rupert

Newspaper carriers wanted!

Contact The Northern View today to find out how you can become a part of our team

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

UPDATED: Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

UPDATED: The Dog Creek wildfire has grown substantially over the past two… Continue reading

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Most Read